On-time delivery is one of the key metrics fleet operators need to stay on top of.
Customers are increasingly demanding that their deliveries arrive within a tight, predictable time window. It’s not only important from the point of view of making sure goods are in the distribution center or on store shelves when they’re needed. The action of delivery usually triggers other activities at the location. Busy staff need to know when they must turn from other duties to receiving goods, or when they’ll be required to stock shelves or prepare outgoing orders. As a result, deliveries that are late, or even early, can have a negative impact on customer satisfaction. Furthermore, if you miss time-windows, you may pay financial penalties.
Advanced routing software can maximize on-time delivery performance by creating route plans that are accurate and achievable.
How does it do that?
- Advanced algorithms consider a broad range of issues that could impact timing. These include road conditions such as average road speed, low bridges and congestion charges. They also take into account specific customer demand and circumstances, such as unloading restrictions at the delivery location and time to unload. The software also automatically calculates routes according to driver and vehicle availability. Basic routing programs may not consider all factors.
- Plans include driver skills needed in order to complete delivery. Route plans produced by advanced planning software ensure that planning is done at the resource level to ensure individual driver availability and appropriate skillsets. It’s no use arriving on time if a driver can’t install a TV or repair HVAC equipment or perform maintenance on a Xerox machine. When plans fail to incorporate these factors, routes have to be adjusted manually by the dispatcher in order to compensate for actual driver availability, resulting in the loss of most of the efficiencies of a well-designed delivery plan.
- Plans include the right vehicle. Resource-level planning also ensures the right vehicle is available – refrigerated or non-refrigerated, the right size for road restrictions, lift gate or none, and so on. Failure to do so can create delays before a delivery route is even begun.
- Street-level mapping increases location accuracy. Advanced routing software can include pinpoint-accurate maps and location information. With more accurate geocoding, you can be confident the routing solution has your customer location in the right place. Also, when you couple more accurate maps with the Aptean Paragon algorithms, you can plan to the nearest meter and second. All of this ensures the driver can quickly and easily find the exact delivery location and be on his or her way to the next appointment.
- Planning accuracy is constantly improved. The software allows for continuous improvement as “real world “feedback from driver debriefings – such as habitual unloading delays at one drop spot – ensures future plans are fine-tuned.
- Integration with telematics promotes greater route accuracy. Businesses that integrate their vehicle tracking system with routing and scheduling software can now benefit from improvements to Aptean Paragon Live, the suite of modules designed to improve planned versus actual performance. This includes features like an auto-correction tool that will refine the exact positions of delivery locations, based on actual tracking events, to automatically improve the accuracy of plans and arrival times communicated to customers.
- Customer communications keep things moving. Constant communication of upcoming arrivals or advance notification of any delays or problems with delivery also makes for a more accurate delivery time.
- Automated KPI reporting allows you to monitor and improve on-time deliveries. It’s hard to fix something when you don’t know the extent of the problem. With detailed KPIs, tailored by you, the advanced routing software gives you a clear picture of where problems habitually occur, as they happen, and the chance to proactively make changes to improve on-time operations. Historical on-time delivery performance data also helps when it comes time to renegotiating business with your customer!
Our team of experienced support consultants can take basic transportation data from your company to diagnose how advanced route planning software can improve your on-time delivery performance. The software typically delivers overall transportation savings of 10-30 percent. Contact us today to find out more.